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St. Vincent headlines Civic Theatre Feb. 19 

Annie Clark follows her muse into adventurous territory on Masseduction

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Photo by Nedda Sfari

"Fear the Future," Annie Clark's current tour forebodes. But what of the wicked, icky present? Naturally, she has some freaky notions on how to deal with that too. In her current state, at the high-camp apex of a parabolic shuttle blast, the one-woman exhibition better known as St. Vincent has untethered herself from all expectations or preconceived notions about who she was, is or should become. Clark is her own gravitational force now, bending and reshaping everything around her to her particular aesthetic will: karaoke-crushing SZA and Rihanna, The Clash and The Beatles; taking her "near-future cult leader" persona (from 2014's Grammy-swiping self-titled dynamo), tricking it out in red leather and spikes and tattooing it with a riding crop. The welted pop she wallops on Masseduction (Loma Vista) is so assaulting, it's exhausting. You have little choice but to submit. "Pills" is ridiculous and sublime. The title track — led by the oleander LP credo "I can't turn off what turns me on" — is her best claim yet to Prince's abdicated crown. "Sugarboy" and "Los Ageless" share the same Jack Antonoff-played synth refrain and Midnight Cowboy-in-a-Tatooine-cantina kinkiness. "Savior" invites her aunt and uncle, Patricia and Charles Andress (of jazz duo Tuck & Patti), to join in on some scalding cosplay. It's no wonder she and David Byrne each found beauty in the other's beast. In 1985, on Music for "The Knee Plays", Byrne sang, "In the future, TV will be so good that the printed word will function as an artform only." Clark's rejoinder, from St. Vincent banger "Digital Witness," three decades later: "People turn the TV on / It looks just like a window." Tickets $40-$169.

At 8 p.m. Feb. 19. Civic Theatre, 510 O'Keefe Ave., (504) 272-0865; www.civicnola.com.

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